Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
Captain Marvel Review
by Dylan Blight
If you watched till the end-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War — I'll assume everyone does at this stage — you will have seen Nick Fury pull out, from the back of his car, a pager he uses to send for help from someone sporting a logo with red and blue. That person is one Carol Danvers aka, Captain Marvel. A character that is about to have a huge impact in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is only seeing her introduction a month ahead of Avengers: End Game's release. If there's one major outlining problem with Captain Marvel, it's this. The film is being released as a semi-prologue to the big event, a rush to introduce this character, and I wished we'd got more time with Carol ahead of Avengers.
Captain Marvel's team of writers (Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Geneva Robertson-Dworet) including directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck make a brave choice throwing the audience into the intergalactic story head-on. The film begins on Hala, the Kree homeworld where Danvers is currently being trained under the name of Vers. This name was given to her some time ago as she arrived on Hala with missing memories we gather. We're quickly introduced to the Skrull a shapeshifting alien race who look like a Farscape villain that are secretly invading and taking over planets. They are the Kree's main enemy, and the two are waging some-sort of war on one-another across the galaxy. Captain Marvels opening 20 minutes is a bit messy and muddled, much like the memories of Vers herself struggling to fit pieces and characters together. I do however appreciate Boden and Fleck's faith in the audience and skipping on drawn-out exposition.
Vers ends up crashing on Earth after a mission goes wrong and she begins hunting for any Skrulls that have made their way to Earth as well. Communicating with the leader of her team, a charming Jude Law as Yon-Rogg, Vers is told to sit patiently, but when she runs into a very young Nick Fury thanks to nearly unbelievable de-aging VFX on Samuel. L Jackson, a new mission begins to save Earth, but also discover more of her forgotten past which appears to be hidden on Earth.
Not even Carol Danvers herself gets time to really explore who she is
Captain Marvel hits its stride when Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson get on-screen together. Vers finally has a character to interact with that the audience can trust and the two actors have fantastic chemistry together. Introduce a cat that makes for all the films best gags and you have a buddy-cop movie happening that I could have easily taken more of.
Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, the main Skrull antagonist is surprisingly fun to watch on-screen, especially considering at times he’s under so many prosthetics and makeup. Although he starts as a rather paint-by-numbers villain, towards the end of the film, as we learn more about him, the character of Talos becomes much more interesting and a decisive role for Mendelsohn as well.
Brie Larson is the star, of course, although I feel she had too much riding on her back for her first outing in the MCU going right into Avengers: End Game. She's potentially the MCU's strongest character going forward and Larson is ever as fierce to bring that to the screen. She's a fighter and I don't just mean in the literal sense. In the brief glimpses in to her past, as far back as her childhood, we see her constantly having to fight to prove herself. When it comes down to the films literal final punch though, it means much more about why she's delivering it, rather than who she's connecting her fist with.
Captain Marvel several times hints at another film I would have liked to see. Mckenna Grace appears as a younger Danvers hinting at a possibly abusive father and a crappy childhood that she continued to push through. The film we have uses bigger elements of the MCU to set-up future stories, explain past ones, and most importantly introduced Captain Marvel for Avengers: End Game. But I wish we could have got a film with more time to focus on Danvers herself, her past, her family and her friends. Not even Carol Danvers herself gets time to really explore who she is and her past before she's blasting off only to return to our screens in a bit over a months times to join with our remaining heroes. Release this a couple of years ago, and if we were heading into End Game with Captain Marvel 2, I think I'd feel better about everything.
Brie Larson brings the fierce-fire needed for Captain Marvel and sells the bad-ass hero ahead of End Game, but the film finds little time to explore who Carol Danvers is outside of her powers.
Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writers: Anna Boden (screenplay & story by), Ryan Fleck (screenplay & story by), Geneva Robertson-Dworet (screenplay & story by), Nicole Perlman (story by), Meg LeFauve (story by)
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Clark Gregg, Rune Temte, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace
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